Daily Devotion for May 27, 2012
Stained glass window from the Church of St. John the Baptist, Wuchzenhofen, Germany.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Our "Virtual Sunday Church" takes us this week to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia (USA).
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for all that I have. Even if I have problems with my health, I am alive today. If I have money problems, I will eat today. I have clothes to wear, a roof to protect me, and air to breathe.
Let me never take for granted these gifts of life, oh Lord, but always remember that they come from you; without you, no man could make the sun shine or the tree bear its fruit. I pray to live this day in joy and thankfulness for what I have, remembering always who made me and who keeps me. In the name of Christ I pray,
A General Intercession
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who in your mercy and all-loving kindness regards the prayers of all who call upon you with their whole heart, incline your ear and hear my prayer, now humbly offered unto you:
Be mindful, O Lord, of the church of all who believe and confess the name of Jesus Christ; confirm and strengthen it, increase it and keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable forever. Be mindful, O Lord, of all priests, ministers, pastors, deacons, bishops, and others known by whatever title, who work as Christian leaders, for you have established them to feed the flock of the Word. And by their prayers, have mercy upon me and save me, a sinner.
Be mindful, O Lord, of all civil authorities, of our Armed Forces, of this city in which I dwell, and of every city and land; grant us peaceful times, that we may lead a calm and tranquil life in all godliness and sanctity.
Be mindful, O Lord, of my parents, my brothers and sisters, my relatives and friends, and all who are near and dear to me, (name those who you wish to remember), and grant them mercy, life, peace, health, salvation and visitation, and pardon and remission of sins; that they may evermore praise and glorify your holy Name.
Be mindful, O Lord, of those who travel by land, and sea, and air; of the young and the old; orphans and widows; the sick and the suffering; the sorrowing and the afflicted, all captives, and the needy poor; upon them all send forth your mercies, for you are the Giver of all good things.
Be mindful, O Lord, of me, your humble servant; grant me your grace, that I may be diligent and faithful; that I may avoid evil company and influence, and resist all temptation; that I may lead a godly and righteous life, blameless and peaceful, ever serving you, that I may be accounted worthy at the last to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Be mindful, O Lord, of all those who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection unto life eternal, especially (name those you wish to remember); pardon all their transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, whether in word, or deed, or thought. Shelter them in a place of verdure, a place of repose, whence all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and where the sight of your countenance rejoices all your Saints from all the ages. Grant them your heavenly Kingdom, and a portion in your ineffable and eternal blessings, and the enjoyment of your unending Life.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, for you are merciful and compassionate, and love mankind, and to you are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
A cruel word may wreck a life.
A timely word may level stress.
A loving word may heal and bless.
Acts 2:1-13 (ESV)
Coming of the Holy Spirit
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs — we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God." So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?"
Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
Notes on the Scripture
The Holy Spirit, which Christ had promised would come to keep the apostles company after He had departed, does not come quietly. Rather, it makes a holy spectacle, full of noise and color. The deafening wind and the weird glowing lights that sit atop each apostle's head are dazzling, but the really sensational event is still to come: the apostles begin speaking in odd languages.
People from all over the world hear God praised in their native language. We are not sure whether the apostles were actually speaking foreign languages, or whether the Spirit was speaking in such a way that every person could understand as if hearing his native language, but that is not the great miracle. The really important aspect, the true miracle, is that the Word of God is heard by people from all over the known world, not just by Jews.
The practice of speaking in tongues has fallen into disfavor in most mainstream churches, although pentecostal and charismatic movements believe in it. Whether or not we believe this miracle is recreated today, however, the true miracle occurs every day; for the good news of Christ, the Word of God, has spread to every corner of the earth. Starting with a tiny band of working-class Jews in Jerusalem, worship of Christ has expanded into every continent and every country. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion on earth.
There were doubters, and there would continue to be doubters. One often hears atheists or agnostics saying, "Show me proof and I will believe." But they are kidding themselves. We know that even such a miracle as was seen in Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago could not convince doubters. They make excuses. They will invent reasons not to believe. God has made His miracles available to everyone who has witnessed a sunrise. Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, could discern the miracle of life.
People who do not want to believe will not believe. To those who are willing to learn, the Holy Spirit will come to them, and knowledge of the grace of Christ will be with them their entire lives.
(Our study of 1 Peter will continue tomorrow.)
The Pentecost by El Greco, c. 1600.